Novak Djokovic - Roland Garros 2023

‘Novak Djokovic is the greatest,’ says veteran ATP ace

ATP Tour veteran Lucas Pouille has come out firmly on the side of Novak Djokovic in the GOAT debate following another stunning year for the Serbian.

Djokovic has spent his career locked in battle with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to be considered the greatest player of all time. He started his career after those two, and now they are retired, in Federer’s case, and easing towards retirement in Nadal’s, Djokovic is pulling away in almost every metric.

He has had another standout year with majors, winning three and reaching the final in the other (Wimbledon). That has seen him pull clear of Federer and Nadal in the Grand Slam race, which most agree is the key statistic for greatness.

He has also become the first man to reach the milestone of 40 Masters 1000 titles and extended his already incredible tally of weeks at world number one.

Furthermore, he is showing absolutely no signs of decline either. In fact, his careful management of his schedule has, if anything, seen him up his already imperious level.

And, as far as Pouille is concerned, he has now seen enough.

“Today, he is 36 years old, he has 19, 20 years of career, he has almost 100 titles and he is still just as hungry and what is extraordinary is that he still seems the freshest on the ground,” Pouille told Eurosport.

“I think he can play for two, three or even four more years. The question is rather whether the desire will still be there.

“The desire to continue to make all these efforts, these sacrifices to be at the highest level. But for me, he still has the energy to play for a very long time.

“Is Novak Djokovic the greatest? Yes, well yes, the figures speak for themselves. For me, yes, it’s the biggest. He’s the GOAT as they say.”

Novak Djokovic not done yet

Lucas Pouille may well be underestimating Novak Djokovic when he questions whether the desire will wane.

All the indications are that Djokovic is hungrier for success than ever before and, in fact, is still not close to the targets he set himself as a child.

Bogdan Obradovic was one of Djokovic’s earliest coaches, and he recently revealed what the world number one has always told him regarding his career ambitions.

“I talked to Novak Djokovic when he was nine years old, that’s when we met for the first time,” Obradovic said.

“After that, when he was 13, we started working together for the next 18 years, which is a very long time.

“He told me every time and I know his idea. He wants to get to the number 30, which is three-zero. That’s what Novak wants.

“So, for the next five years, he will play and he will probably have 20 opportunities to get to that number, to 30 Grand Slam trophies. Let’s see.”

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Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.